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Zara Rodsky

Gender roles are for pu---cats....

0 · 1,238 views · located in Psy Prep

a character in “Psy Prep”, as played by cirrus_sd

Description

Name: Zara Marie Rodski

Appearance: Zara has short brown hair in a boyish cut (due to an unfortunate hot-iron incident) that is naturally curly. She also has sharp brown eyes and a slight smattering of freckles over her small nose. She's about 5'6, with thin limbs and a lacking bust. She likes to refer to herself as "compact" while Mikhail jokingly refers to her as "Short and small." She dresses however she likes, sometimes in men's clothes, sometimes in women's. Her favorite combo is a large sweater with short, pleated skirt, and she adores her knee socks, along with her doc martens. She also has a thin, but long scar running down her back.
Image

Age: recently turned 16

Power: Zara has a knack for finding things. She never gets lost, and when she is in dire need of something, she is magically able to find it. She is also good at finding people and knowing exactly what to say or what to type to get the info she needs. She hasn't had much time developing her power, so it is limited to the above abilities. However, if she hones her power, she could develop the ability to instantly know where everything is.

EDIT: In the two weeks of training, Zara's ability has developed quite a bit. She can now find people easily, and knows where her classmates are at all times with a certain range, usually within a building. (with the exception of Danny and Chandler whenever they timestop or teleport, and of course April). She can't tell what they're doing, just their whereabouts. Her hunches are a little more definitive and descriptive, and she's gotten better at finding giveaways to a person's emotion, either through their writing, facial expression or behavior. She can also visualize certain places and know exactly where things are without actually being there, however the only places where she has this down successfully are her dorm room, Mikhail's dorm, and the inside of her purse.

Sexual Preference: Straight

Personality: Zara isn't a stickler for gender roles. She likes proving to boys that she is fully capable of holding her own. She doesn't like comments on her "acting like a girl/boy" and replies that she is simply acting like herself. She is typically a happy person, joking around and having fun, but is fierce in her beliefs. Unlike Mikhail, she does not have such a strong handle on her emotions, and is prone to emotional outbursts at times. She is loud in voicing her opinion, and very energetic, occasionally to the point of hyperactivity. She loves baseball, and sports in general. She can hold her own in an arm wrestle or thumb war, and is an avid player of video games. She doesn't like reading, and struggles in school. She is lazy, and hopelessly messy and unorganized (but of course, is able to find whatever she needs with no problem). She is trying to grow her hair out so she can "whip her hair back and forth", but it's taking some time. She spends a lot of time on YouTube, and is prone to believing Urban Myths and just about any tip on skin and hair care until she disproves it herself. Too focused on being her own person, she isn't all that interested in getting a boyfriend, and will tease or cock-block anyone who tries to make a move on her. A holder of a dirty mouth, she tends to curse a lot, and is prone to flinging around bizarre insults. She is also very, very stubborn, a trait that at times can be extremely infuriating.

History: Zara is of Polish descent. Like Mikhail, she too was recruited to be a child spy by the Russian Intelligence, under the Miscellaneous Intelligence Division (MID), a section usually known for developing new methods for gaining intelligence, but now primarily dealing with the idea of child spies. From an Orthodox Jewish family, Zara grew tired of the assigned gender roles, and retaliated by shaving most of her hair off at the age of 11. Enraged, her father beat her, causing the skin on her back to split. The abuse caused a permanent scar on her back. She returned to her family, but a week after she was abandoned at a mall and her family was never seen again. An agent for the RI saw her sleeping on one of the benches, and after she told him she had no family anymore, he brought her to Russia to train her. There, she met Mikhail, and they bonded quickly, taking on a brother-sister relationship.

Her ability has been present since her birth, but she simply called it luck. After Mikhail's disappearance, she looked up the details of his death. The search led to a series of articles discussing psychic abilities, and upon reading the entry for Serendipity, began to suspect she herself had abilities as well. Upon finding the webpage for Psy Prep, she requested that she be enrolled. After receiving a letter approving it, she requested a discharge from the RI and left for the academy.

So begins...

Zara Rodsky's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Mikhail

Gently, the billowing curtains gave way to a bright light, and the warm feeling progressed before fading away....

Mikhail's eyelids opened slowly, and he stared at nothing for a bit before his eyes focused. He blinked a few times, before his eyebrows furrowed, and he wondered where he was. What was he doing here? His hands curled around fabric. Sheets? Blankets?

He heard a voice. Hallie? He began to sat up when he heard another voice. Zara. Slowly it came back to him. The duct-tape. Right....

Zara's voice repeated. "Misha? Are you okay?" Fingers tightened around his and he looked down. Somehow, he was holding her hand.

"How did I get on the bed?" he asked, his voice a bit huskier than normal. Zara explained that she had dragged him onto it after he passed out, presumably from the pain. She raised an eyebrow near the end, as if asking him to confirm that assumption. He nodded non-committedly, and quickly began to regain his bearings. He brushed his short hair with his fingers as he tried to remember his dream. It began oddly, but from what he recalled, it wasn't all that bad. He felt...strangely...serene.

He rubbed his eyes and peered outward. He saw some white hair peeking out from under his bed and leaned forward. "Hallie?" he called hoarsely. He cleared his throat as he moved off the bed. "Hallie..." he could see her face now. He spotted what looked like dried tear streaks. It looked like she had tried to wipe the most away, but he could still see the slight glisten that betrayed it. "Hal..." he repeated, voice softer, and more worried. Why had she been crying? What had she been doing? Why was she trying to avoid looking at him? "What's wrong?"

Zara watched on, a bit judgmental, but silent.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Hallie

"Nothing's wrong," she assured, wiping at her face more and getting to her feet to step away. She was weak still, from before and just now. The farther she was, the easier his emotions would be to block. Zara's too. She sent the Polish girl a glance, feeling a twang of something, a negative something, but blocked it out at once.

"I was just trying to help...you were having a nightmare."

It was perfectly logical. He didnt have to keep staring at her all worried and wounded looking, like a puppy...no, what!?

Hallie stepped back again, but found a wall there. "So...so you feel okay?"

Her face was heated suddenly, wondering why she had thought that. Hopefully they didnt notice, but with skin like hers, any sort of pink was seen. She wiped at her hazel eyes and peered to the door, debating leaving.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Mikhail

He would have gone closer, but it seemed she was trying to get away from him. Why? Had he done something? Had she seen something? Or did she think he was a spy?

He cocked his head slightly when she mentioned the nightmare. "I was?" he asked, and furrowed his eyebrows. Maybe...it wouldn't be the first. "I guess I did. I don't remember anyways. But I guess that must be because of you."

He shook his head until everything was in focus. He pressed his hands to his eyes, and exhaled as he released them. He altered his gravity somewhat, just so he'd stick to the floor. He was feeling a bit faint, but after a slight rumble from his stomach, he realized that he hadn't eaten since breakfast. At least he was clear-headed now.

He smiled at Hallie at her next question. "Yes. I'm fine now. Thanks to you, I suppose." He spread out his arms and smiled his more usual, tugging smile. "I don't suppose I could give you a hug of gratitude? Or would you prefer I get more dressed first?"

Zara

Zara was glad that Mikhail was doing well. Whether that was Hallie's doing or not didn't particularly matter.

She had continued to stare accusingly at Hallie until she realized the growing blush on the girl's face. Wait....no. No. Zara's eyes widened somewhat.

Did Hallie like Mikhail too?

Zara had to stop herself from laughing, even though she didn't find the matter particularly funny. So that made two people now. That one girl, Zoe, and now Hallie. Was that why she was so persistent in helping him, or why she had argued with him at the gate? It would explain why they spent so much time together. But then...maybe....did Mikhail like Hallie too? The way he showed concern for her. He usually did that anyways to anyone regardless, but there was a sort of.....undertone that normally wasn't present.

Well, turns out Mikhail's charm worked equally well on American girls. Who would have thought?

Setting

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Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Hallie

Hug...right...rain check?

Mikhail was still only in boxers and if she had physically contact with him, blocking out whatever he was feeling would definitely be transferred to her. But...she found that she wanted to. Seeing he was okay lifted her spirits greatly.

"Okay..." she said out loud and cautiously approached, forcing a tiny smile on her lips and wrapping her cold limbs around his warm, bare torso. She realized she was holding her breath and released it once she could tell Mikhail was rather calm. But she couldnt allow the hug to last too long.

Her eyes caught Zara's briefly. Something amused and bothered the girl at the same time. But mostly amused. Whatever. Hallie closed her eye lids so no one saw her eye roll.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Zara

Zara watched as they hugged, though her mind was wandering. If Hallie liked Mikhail, then she was definitely trying hard to hide it. Or was shy about it. Maybe uncertain? Well, if she had the power to feel anyone's emotions, that could get out of hand. Maybe it was Mikhail who liked Hallie, and Hallie was just feeding off of that?

She shook her head. It was a crazy theory. Besides, Mikhail...she knew him. Maybe he liked Hallie a little, but as far as Zara knew, he had never had a crush on anyone of that magnitude. Well, except for April....Zara had found out about her on accident, and Mikhail had sworn her to secrecy about it. But April was the only girl Mikhail had ever fallen for, and he fell hard. Head over heels. Luck would have it she was from the enemy. It had been, what, a couple years? Maybe it was one of those adolescent hormone things. A slip-up. The one and only, in that department. And he still hadn't given it up to her!

She exhaled through her mouth, blowing a few strands of her hair upwards.

Mikhail

Mikhail hugged Hallie, rubbing her cold arms, his chin perched on top of her head. It was tilted a bit, meaning that Hallie was a few inches taller than Zara.

How come Hallie was always so cold? Was it just a girl thing? It sent a slight chill through his body, and he released her shortly afterwards, smiling.

"I don't know about you, but I'm starved," he as he got dressed. He himself was quite hot, so he just put on a black wife-beater and some gym shorts. He pulled out some Ramen noodles and had Zara help him find the microwave. In a few minutes, he returned, and sat on the edge of the bed, scooping through the hot noodles with some wooden chopsticks. "Anyone else down for some calories?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arian Moira Fay Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: James Black Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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James

Arian appeared stressed, more than James had supposed. He held her hand and tried to put on a smile, but he was nervous under the glances of the nurse. Surely a punishment was in store for them, and James would take the fall. He turned to Arian as the nurse left the room for a moment and he pushed some of her hair off her forehead. "How ya feelin'?"

The answer was obvious but he just needed to keep her talking and awake. Running his thumb along her hand, he smiled a bit more genuine and drew up a chair beside her.


Hallie

Mikhail prepared some food and the smell suddenly had Hallie's stomach growling. She hadn't eaten much today. "I am," she let out and glanced to the door, wondering if there was any food in her dorm. She doubted it, and if there was, then it was James'. Oh well. She perched on the edge of the bed adding, "But I doubt the cafeteria is still open this late."

Zara was contemplating something that bothered her still, eyes flitting to Mikhail. Hallie brushed it off.

Head a bit achy, she pressed two fingers to her temple, but smiled to Mikhail as he slurped a bit around his chopsticks and noodles.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Mikhail

Mikhail motioned towards his bag with his chopsticks, mouth full of Ramen. "I have more in there," he said, a bit muffled, "Here." He gave the cup to Zara and got up from the bed. He pulled out two other cups and, after a short while, returned to the room with them cooked, and handed one to Hallie.

"Ramen for everyone!" he exclaimed, waving his chopsticks in the air, and resumed gulping down.

"Oh, so you give me the one you already started eating?" Zara said, but she ate from it anyways. Mikhail shrugged, "If you want, you can have mine, but by now they're the same level."

He looked around, noodles streaming from his mouth. "So....after I passed out....anything interesting happen?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arian Moira Fay Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: James Black Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Hallie

"Interesting?" Peering over to Zara with a shrug, Hallie went on, "Just...talking. Girl talk," she clarified. The new information about Mikhail's background and mom had intrigued her greatly, but she wasnt sure Mikhail needed to know she knew such things. Not just yet, or that Hallie was leaning to the idea that both he and Zara were indeed spies. It made sense why he wouldnt want her to know, so she would leave the subject alone.

"What about your dream? Seemed intense...any creepy creatures you'd like to share?" Sitting on the bed beside him, Hallie began slowly eating the salty noodles gratefully, stomach twisting with the new source of semi-nutrition.


James

He was about to shake his head and protest, but he didnt want to get into a debate with Arian in her current state. He didnt agree though, he only smiled which seemed good enough for her while she was being semi-drugged. He held her hand tight, then spotted the nurse in his office. "I'll be right back," he promised and even placed a light kiss on her forehead without thinking. He wondered what his true motivation had been, but didnt think too much about it.

Confronting the nurse, he said quietly, "Am I in trouble? Please just...tell me. I'll report to anyone right now."

The nurse raised a knowing eyebrow. "Wanting to take the blame. Be the hero?"

"What? No, it was my fault. All of it. I'm an irresponsible teenager without any self-control. So..."

The nurse squinted. "I suppose Arian is suffering quite a bit already from...your irresponsibility."

James nodded, throat dry.

"All right," the nurse finally agreed and smiled, handing him a piece of paper with a scribbled name on it and a room number. "Go to this room and receive whatever punishment she deems necessary. I'll remain with Arian."

James glanced back to Arian and smiled to her gaze, waving a little. Turning back, he nodded. "All right. Thank you."

He proceeded to Arian, saying a soft goodbye to her confused expression, before dipping out of the room. Guilt for leaving her alone bit into his chest, but he couldnt allow her to get punished for this.

So he found the teacher's hall again and found the correct room number, swallowing hard. Lifting a hand, and knowing any teacher woken up at this late hour would dole out punishment lined with irritation, he knocked twice and waited with a set expression. He would take it. He had to.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Mikhail

"Creepy creatures?" he said aloud, moving his chopsticks through the soup, searching for any stray noodles, "No, I don't think so. None that I remember anyways." It was true, that he didn't remember the specifics, but he did know that the dream started a bid...oddly? Badly? But it ended well.

He gulped down the rest of the soup and threw the cup away. "Sometimes I wonder about this school," he said with a shake of his head. His groin was still aching a bit, and there was still some residue....he'd need to take a shower. "I wonder if it's new, or if it's tied directly to the government or something. I mean, duct taping someone's privates? You do it at any other American school, and I'm sure you'd see the entire staff affiliated with the incident behind bars, or at least blacklisted." He stretched and went to the bathroom. "I'll be out in a minute," he called from behind the door, "Just have to take care of some things...."

The cold water was refreshing, and he scrubbed as vigorously as he could. Finally, all the sticky tape leftovers were gone, and he quickly rinsed his hair and body before stepping out. He dried himself and redressed, exiting from the bathroom with the towel around his neck. "I don't know about you," he said, "But I think something is up with this place. I think a little bit of....research is in order." He winked at Zara, who smiled. "Research" was their code name for "hacking" (or "cracking" if you wanted to be specific) whenever they just needed info, and not necessarily to steal anything or lodge a virus. Though perhaps they would need a virus if the security was really that bad. He gave a small yawn. "Not now of course," he admitted. He was a bit tired, "But soon. What do you say, Hal?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: James Black Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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James

He accepted the list and supplies without question. Pissing off this teacher meant serious business and James didn't need reminding. He just had to think of Mikhail's duct tape.

But the list held promises, even despite the long hours and time limit he had. Restricted areas...hmm. He could possibly Scry while cleaning and gain some information. He definitely wouldn't say no to that.

Hurrying, he dove down the hall, ready to begin at once.


Hallie

"Research is always a good idea. Especially when I get the suspicion that we're trapped here." She was thinking about the sights from the roof. "There's nothing for miles. And no roads except the one we arrived on. We have to find out if we're even safe here. And if not...how we're getting out."

She glanced to Mikhail in a business-like manner. Although gaining information was a good thing, part of her didn't care whether they were in danger or not. If she died then...well...it didn't matter much. But somehow she thought it would matter if everyone else did. "We have to make sure the others aren't in harm's way," she said deliberately, excluding herself from the group as well as Mikhail. She had already figured out he cared more about others' safety over his own. The way her voice sounded put her on edge though. How fired up she was about it all of a sudden. "They shouldn't get hurt just because some psychos decided to imprison us here."

Turning back to her noodles, she fell silent, twisting her chopsticks around the broth absently.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Zara

Zara couldn't help smiling, albeit a bit evilly. Research, eh? Well, she was more than capable at that. Mikhail, obviously, had more skill, but Zara had luck on her side. Most of her searches always proved positively.

She eyed Hallie when she mentioned making sure no one got hurt before switching her glance to Mikhail. Well, it was obvious that Mikhail would do everything in his power to ensure that. Maybe...was that what Hallie was getting at? Perhaps a subliminal message to her to make sure that Mikhail was included in the "no one getting hurt" that Hallie mentioned? Maybe...or maybe she was just tired.

Zara yawned, stretching. "Can I sleep here?" she asked as she rubbed her eyes.

"Noooo," Mikhail said, but his grin gave his true intentions away, and he picked her up, "Of course you can. But I get the bed." He put her on the small sofa they had and tossed her a blanket. "There. Cozy?"

Zara nodded, "Totes."

"Great," he said, and he yawned himself. "I think I'm going to hit the sack too. What about you, Hallie? Want to spend the night as well?"

Zara had an inkling that if she took him up on that offer, then Mikhail would give her the bed...she would protest at the unfairness, but was much too tired to really care. She closed her eyes and went to bed.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Hallie

She had a nasty suspicion that James would, if he alredy hadn't, bring Arian to their room because she wouldnt want to spend the night with Zara. But sleeping here? Hallie wasnt quite sure, which Mikhail seemed to notice. Rolling her eyes and not wanting to go all the way across the hall she nodded once, saying, "Sure."

She started by pulling a blanket from Mikhail's bed and tossed it on the floor to lay on at the foot of the bed. "Cozy, cozy," she commented a bit comically and wrapped the cloth around her tightly.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Mikhail

Mikhail had actually woken to the static the intercom made before the woman began speaking, but he didn't get out of bed until she was done. He stared up at the ceiling, absorbing the words. Free day? Anything we wanted? The conditions blew past his mind. Legality was purely subjective. Besides, none of the laws actually prohibited activity like this. They just prohibited being caught. Which he didn't plan on doing.

He sat up and stretched. Zara was still asleep. Unlike him, she was a heavy sleeper. She could sleep through anything, which had been a bit problematic back at the MI. Some of the agents had grouped together a vuvuzela quartet to wake her up. It worked, but a little too well. Everyone else within a mile-radius could hear it as well, and the quartet had ended prematurely.

He didn't have a vuvuzela here, but he had technology. He pulled out his phone and opened up his apps. A second later he held the phone up to her ear, and a blasting foghorn shouted through the speakers. It seemed to do the job, but just barely. He made a mental note to go for something louder next time.

Zara lifted her head groggily and looked at him, a bit confused. "Good morning," he said, but she didn't look entirely present. He gave her a couple minutes to regroup, and walked towards his duffelbag, which he still had to unpack. He pulled out his usual: black shirt, black jeans, and was grabbing his sunglasses when he stopped. Now that practically the whole school was suspecting him and Zara of being spies, perhaps his usual ensemble wasn't the smartest idea. It worked when others were ignorant. They just saw him as some computer nerd, or goth, or cyberpunk, or even a regular guy trying to forge an identity. But now, the people around him would definitely associate his all-black clothes with his spying activities. And since today he was planning on "research" the last thing he wanted was to draw more suspicion than needed.

He put the black clothes back and searched for something with color. It took a lot of sifting, but he eventually found a red shirt. It was a Russian soccer jersey, but at least it wasn't black. Besides, wearing a soccer jersey didn't make him a spy. He was half-Russian after all. He pulled out some thin blue jeans that weren't too skinny, and tugged on his usual converse. He went to the bathroom and washed up, taking the time to organize his disorderly short hair. He ended up on a faux-hawk, and decided to leave the growing stubble on his face. He was used to shaving, but it didn't look too bad. Made him look a bit older, actually. Maybe even sexier. He grinned at the last thought and laughed slightly. Not that sexy was what he was aiming for, exactly, but at least the scruffiness would draw attention away from the supposed order he'd be forced to follow as a spy.

He wondered if James had looked up the website yet. If he didn't plan on it, then they'd need to get back the piece of paper, lest it fall into unwanted hands. Before last night, Mikhail would have thought it impossible, but now he wasn't so sure. There was something fishy about the school, and he wanted to know in time so he could protect himself and Zara.

He walked back into the room and squatted down by Hallie. He looked down at her, an expectant smile, as he waited for her to wake up. He wondered what she'd think of his change of style.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arian Moira Fay Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: James Black Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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James

"Much worse huh?" he muttered, eyelids wanting to fall then and there. The teachers here were crazy...yes...but he needed a bed. Now. He managed to return the supplies and codes then blearily tried to locate the hallways leading back to the dorms. Hopefully Arian hadn't locked the door so he could simply slip inside his room and collapse. When he reached the hall and tried however, the knob didn't budge.

He knocked three times, wiping at his eyes. "Hey, you awake?" he called. "Arian? Hallie?"

No response and he slumped against the door, sighing loudly. He just wanted a bed...


Hallie

The announcement had woken her up, but she didn't want to move. The floor was actually very comfortable and the sleep good. Getting up meant moving and interaction and...was that a foghorn? By the time she actually decided to open her eyes into slits, Mikhail was beside her, smiling down and looking...different.

Eyebrows scrunching, she asked, "Got a hot date or what?"

He seemed to have styled his hair more precisely and allowed some scruff to build, which wasn't entirely displeasing, but the motivation was. Hallie sat up, ignoring her hitched heartbeat, and started to try and stand. The sunlight coming in from the window drew a curse from her lips. "Free day, yeah?" she asked, wiping at her eyes and yawning a bit. "Should be fun."

She felt cold without the blanket and looked down herself, face turning red and a squeak escaping her throat as she rearranged her clothes and grabbed at her pants. She had undressed a little to be more comfortable once everyone had fallen asleep. She thought she would remember, but no. Now Mikhail could see her bright red panties and her matching red face. But she stood up as casually as she could once dressed and swallowed hard. Words didn't come to mind though.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Mikhail

Mikhail laughed at Hallie's comment. "Yeah," he said, grinning cheesily, "with the lovely Lady Internet." He stood up and leaned the back of his legs against the bed behind him, stretching backwards. His gravity powers seemed to have replenished themselves to normal, and he pushed back to see how far he could lean without falling. He was at about a 50 degree angle when a high-pitched noise caught his attention. It had come from Hallie, and for good reason. It appeared she had taken off her pants when she slept last night. His balance wavered a bit when he saw her underwear--bright red? Really? Huh....--but he regained it quickly and stuck his hands in his pockets in an effort to be nonchalant about it.

It seemed that Hallie was also trying to be callous about it, but an awkward silence befell them. It was Zara who spoke the words on his mind. "Interesting color," she observed. Apparently she had woken up in time to see them. Well, Zara could get away with being blunt. It was in her character. And it saved him from anything potentially embarrassing to Hallie. Besides, he was more used to seeing blush on Zoe's cheeks. Come to think of it, he hadn't seen her since yesterday morning. He wondered how she was doing, and about what Hallie had said about asking her out. Well, research at the moment was more important.

"So you guys want to catch some breakfast to start off our free day?" he asked, "I hear the food is delicious. And if it isn't, I'm sure Zara at least will sue for false advertisement."

Zara

"You know it," Zara yawned, stretching and scratching her head. Judging from appearance, she guessed that Mikhail was trying to allay suspicions that he was a spy. Smart idea, but it looked like he'd be attracting a different sort of attention now. What was up with the stubble anyways? Not that Zara particularly cared.

She wasn't sure why, but she had never been attracted to Mikhail. It wasn't that he wasn't good-looking or handsome, or that she thought he was ugly. There just was no feelings beyond platonic between them. Maybe it was because they had identified too well as siblings. Maybe it was her unconscious negativity towards Russians as a whole that she wouldn't want to be involved romantically with one. Or maybe it was the age difference. Whatever the reason, she liked staying friends, and hoped it would continue that way.

Within the next few minutes, Zara underwent an impressive make-over that changed her appearance from bedraggled to perky. She tamed her short but wild hair with a cut headband, slipped on a striped layered shirt, and pulled up a navy pleated skirt. She finished it off with sandals and lots of bracelets. Colorful, but not blinding. She smiled as she stood by the door. "Shall we?" she asked, holding the knob. She gave it a turn and started to push it outwards, leaning lightly against the wood.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arian Moira Fay Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: James Black Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Hallie

Hallie opted to stop at her dorm to change, promising to meet the other two in the cafeteria, but when she opened the door she found James and Arian all over each other. She backed out without analyzing the scene further and she slipped back in her spot beside Mikhail. "So food," she said briskly, leading the way.

Part of her was self conscious now, as if Mikhail could see her underwear even as she walked with he and Zara behind. It shouldnt bother her, but it did. Out at the lake she had cared so little about him seeing her nearly naked. Why did she care this time?

They reached the cafeteria and Hallie grabbed some eggs and toast, not wanting anything too heavy. She plopped down at the end of a table, slowly beginning to eat and wondering if she indeed was building feelings for Mikhail. If she was, then should she try to stop it? Every nerve in her body screamed a resounding yes. But, with a glance over to him with Zara, he was so different than others...

No, no. She shook her head and focused on her eggs. Any relationship with anyone would never be completely honest, she knew. Unless she could turn off her ability, she would never know how she truly felt about anything.

Mikhail was off limits.

The statement sounded so odd in her head. Before Mikhail was just Mikhail...now he was off limits. Meaning she did want him on some level. Did she?

Frowning she told herself to make sure he asked Zoe out soon. Maybe even today. If he was taken she could squash the beginnings of these feelings easier.


James

"So...tired..."

He realized he was clinging to Arian and quietly apologized before collapsing on his bed. One eye remained open though. "Hey you...feel okay?"

Smiling, he pulled her hands to him and kissed her fingers. "Can you tell Mikhail what I found? He might deny that Zara is part of the spy thing, but I know he is at least. I saw that too." Wondering again why it mattered so much to Mikhail that no one knows, he added, "He'll be able to do something with it."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zoe Find Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Mikhail

Zara, predictably, grabbed an ungodly amount of food. Mikhail, himself, took a little less. Ramen liked to sit in you for a while, and he hadn't burned much calories last night. He settled on some toast and cereal, and added a couple strips of bacon as an afterthought. As he sat down, he noticed Zoe sitting by herself. He excused himself briefly, a small smile playing on his lips, as he stood up, toast in hand. He walked over to her table and leaned against the surface with one hand, suggesting only a temporary visit.

"Hello, you," he greeted cheerfully, "Haven't seen you since yesterday. How've you been doing in my absence?" He took a bite from his toast and grinned through his chewing, "Hopefully better than me." He winced at the memory of the duct tape, and his groin area tingled in phantom pain.

At the moment, he wasn't thinking about asking Zoe out or anything like that. He just wanted to know how she was doing, as a friend. But as he awaited her answer, he couldn't helping looking at her a little more thoroughly.

Zara

Zara had to make two trips for all her food. Pancakes, waffles, toast, cereal, bacon, eggs--scrambled, hard-boiled, soft-boiled--bagels, English muffins, regular muffins, orange juice, milk, etc etc etc.... Starving was an understatement.

She began eating almost immediately. As she did, she took the time to examine her surroundings. She had been in the cafeteria a grand total of once, and at the time she was too worried about Mikhail and too upset with Arian to really see everything. It was definitely state-of-the-art. Like a 5-star hotel. She wistfully imagined what she would tell the others back at the MI before realizing such an event would be impossible.

Her eyes drifted towards Mikhail, talking to Zoe casually. The image, his dress-style and appearance, his more relaxed posture, that smile....for a moment, he almost looked like a normal, average guy. One that no one would suspect as a spy. And equally, one that no one would suspect as having powers, even though his position was likely a difficult one to accomplish without his gravity abilities. He looked like he was putting nearly all his weight on his one arm, but was eating the toast effortlessly and didn't look strained. Could also be his muscles working. Zara shrugged and went back to her food.

After a few mouthfuls, she looked back at Mikhail again. Was he really just talking to Zoe casually? Or was it something else? She couldn't hear from this distance, but she remembered that Zoe most likely had feelings for him, despite her response to her back at the camp. The idea that he might be asking her out was far-fetched, but she also hadn't really expected him to look the way he did today.

As she thought, she turned to look at Hallie, across from her. Again, the question of Hallie's feelings went through Zara's mind. Did she, or didn't she? Only one way to find out.

"So," Zara piped up, holding up her fork, which was stabbing a piece of pancake, "What do you think about Mikhail?" she asked, "And not just as a person, if you know what I mean...."

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Character Portrait: Zoe Find Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Hallie

Zara's question had her eyes lifting finally and she noticed Mikhail by Oe briefly. Good.

"He's...an interesting person. And do I like him like that? I don't know honestly..." Surprised by her response, Hallie allowed her hazel eyes to travel over to his blonde hair again. "Even if I did. It wouldnt work." Stabbing at her eggs, she went on, "My ability isnt easy to control and he doesnt need someone like me that needs constant emotional check on his part. Plus, as you said, he has a lot hidden and honestly I dont want to feel it anymore than he does."

She wouldnt meet Zara's eyes as she struggled to figure out why she was saying all this out loud.

"It wouldnt work. Besides...he seems to like Zoe. Thats a good thing."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Adrien King Character Portrait: Zoe Find Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Zoe

Zoe looked up as Mikhail walked over to her. It had been a while since they talked so she was glad to see him, but she still wasn't really feeling like herself. "Hey," Zoe responded softly to his greeting, "I've been great," she said faking a smile weakly, but her eyes showed the emotions she was trying to repress. Her nightmares shook her up, and she still didn't exactly recover...images were still flashing through her mind. Even though she wasn't exactly herself, she blushed slightly as she remembered Mikhail's "attire" from yesterday. He was smiling, so it seemed he was doing better...unless he was repressing things as well...at moments like these Zoe hated how she couldn't read people. "So...are you doing better?" she asked, blushing a little more deeply when she noticed him staring at her. He certainly looked different, and she wasn't hating it...but it was good to see he was still acting the same.

Adrien

Adrien smiled as he noticed everyone else coming in. "Hey Zara!" Adrien said waving to her, smiling widely. He didn't talk to her since the trip to the forest so he was inclined to talk to her. He didn't really socialize with Hallie, but he wasn't exactly sure if she liked him. Standing up he made his way over to the two of them and put his plates by them. "I'll be right back," he said going away to get more food, while allowing them to finish their conversation, just in case it was anything like girl talk or whatever.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adrien King Character Portrait: Zoe Find Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Zara

Zara listened carefully, ears searching for any hiccups in her statement. The "I don't know" was intriguing...it wasn't a flat-out no. Then there was the "even if I did". And her repeating "It wouldn't work." Hmm....much to piece together.

Although Zara wasn't one for relationships, she was a bit intuitive when it came to figuring out who was with who. Maybe it was her finding things ability, since she had always been quite adept at picking out the true meaning behind someone's awkward confession about someone they may or may not like. It was probably along the same lines of why she was able to find seemingly harmless jokes offensive (more often than not, they were intended to be so, though getting someone to confess that they were took a lot of threatening and wet willies). Some of her friends back at the MI would come to her for dating advice, and even more people she didn't know would come to her about Mikhail. She could always tell whether he liked someone or not. She didn't know how, but she could. Her eyes always saw the right things at the right time that gave it away.

Hmm...maybe this finding things power was more useful than she thought...

Zara waved brightly at Adrien before returning to her thoughts. She did notice that Hallie herself had glimpsed at Mkhail as she spoke. Her reasons were understandable, though her constant negativity was a bit annoying. So she was being realistic. Didn't need to be pessimistic.

Still. The fact that Hallie was actually thinking her feelings through made Zara like her already, moreso than the hormone-driven girls at the MI anyways. Swirling her cereal around with her spoon, she spoke informatively, "Well, that's what you're at this school for, right? To control that sort of thing? Perhaps you'll let Misha go, but what about when you are thinking about a serious relationship? You gonna let that stop you as well? Things to think about." Zara tapped the side of her head with her free finger. "Besides, it wouldn't be the first time he's liked someone it would be difficult to be in a relationship with." April immediately popped up in her mind. Zara decided not to get too specific, but she added, "The first, and probably only, girl he ever seriously thought about dating was a big no-no."

She slurped down her orange juice and looked over at Mikhail and Zoe. "Also, if you want my opinion, I think he's just there on the platform of friendship. Dunno if he actually has any feelings or not. But that's just me," she turned back to her cereal, "Who knows. If nothing gets in the way of them, maybe they will turn into something else." Though Zara highly doubted it. At least not right away, if she knew Mikhail correctly.

Mikhail

Mikhail cocked his head a bit at Zoe's statement. Wasn't too convincing. "You sure?" he asked, smiling, but serious, "You look a bit tired....bad dreams? I know I had some weird ones. But, for whatever reason, I can't remember them...."

He took a thoughtful bite from his toast before addressing her question. "Other than the excruciating pain of last night's duct tape, I'm great. Trying out different colors than black, for a change. Maybe you should try it too." He gestured at her own dark clothes, "Though I don't mind what you're wearing now." He winked, his mouth widening into a Cheshire Cat-like grin.

"So, what do you think you'll be doing on this wonderful "free" day?" He made quotation marks with his fingers when he said "free" and did so with both hands whilst still leaning in a manner that would cause a normal person to fall flat on their face. Man, was it nice to have his powers back up to speed!

Setting

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Character Portrait: Adrien King Character Portrait: Zoe Find Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Hallie

"If I ever control my powers, then maybe I could have some sort of...actual relationship...but this school doesnt seem keen on teaching us much individually. At least not yet." Her thoughts shifted to the poisonous flowers that had ailed her yesterday. "They dont seem keen on doing much with us at all. Which is where research comes in."

"Never pictured myself with anyone though," she ended with, listening to Zara's words about Mikhail only being friends with Zoe.

Adrien had left his spot beside them and she eyed the boy as he walked away. Social birdie he was. Hallie sighed, concentrating more on keeping emotions out rather than food. She wouldnt leave, even though part of her wanted to. Making friends would keep her mind occupied on something other than Mikhail.

"Who knows. If nothing gets in the way of them, maybe they will tirn into something else."

Hallie nodded, thinking this good. Perhaps one day she would control her ability and could live normally...but she doubted the time it would take to achieve such would be short. Mikhail didnt need to know about her potential feelings. Nothing could happen between them. Not for a long time, and by then...well, Hallie hoped he got over himself and found a girl finally.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Zoe Find Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Zara

Zara nodded her head about the research. It had been a while since she had done it. It'd be nice to see her magic working again. She finished up the food.

To pass the time as she waited on the others, she pulled out her phone and started surfing the web. She checked her email and found that one of her MI friends had emailed her. Wouldn't you know, it was Trick.

Despite the incident with Mikhail, Zara and Trick had continued to be friends. They had actually dated years ago--back when Zara actually cared about that sort of thing--a few months after the locker-slam. She had actually liked him beforehand, and never held it against him when she ended up in the hospital due to his actions. Mikhail had never said anything about their relationship, but Zara could guess that he hadn't been entirely keen on it. Not like Zara cared too much. The two had broken up after a couple months, but stayed friends. They had grown closer after the news of Mikhail's supposed death, and Trick had been her shoulder to cry on.

Zara had also lost her virginity to Trick. It was probably one of the few things she hadn't told Mikhail, or many people in general. It was just one of those things that no one really needed to know. At least, in her opinion anyways. Trick had been quiet about it as well.

Zara read the message:

Zara,

Things have been quieter without you here. Less insults.

Did you ever find Misha? Was he really alive like you thought?

I'm not really supposed to be sending this to you....

Are you doing okay?

How is the school? I tried looking it up, but couldn't find it. What is it called again? Sai Prep? Sy Prep? Sye Prep?

The co-director hasn't been in too great a mood lately. He spends a lot of time at Sasha's memorial, but never at Misha's. I think he's mad at him. Blames him or something. Someone was talking about Misha to some others, and he got very angry and started yelling bad things about him. Nothing too personal, just nasty insults. He had to be carried away, and I think he was almost forced to resign. He's still here though, so I guess that rumor isn't true.

Not that I really blame him. Sasha was his son. It does seem kind of unfair, right?

I really need to go. Just checking up on you. Write back soon.

~Trick


Zara puzzled over the email. What was that all about? The co-director, mad at Misha? Like the explosion was his fault. He of all people should know to never blame deaths on the child agents. But, like Trick had said, the co-director was Sasha's father. It would explain his anger, but not justify it.

Zara began to worry. What if the co-director found out Mikhail was still alive? Would he hunt him down? Send someone after him? She was getting paranoid, but this was Russian Intelligence. Worse, it was a grudge. Was the Russian mafia active near here? Zara wasn't sure...

She took a breath and left for some water. She returned, thoughts more organized, and decided to worry about it later. Maybe during their "research" she could look it up. For now, she needed to clear her head. She opened up YouTube and entertained herself there.

Mikhail

Mikhail couldn't help smiling at Zoe's blush. Her signature. "Awww, don't blush," he said, "I just asked you what you were going to do for the day. It's not like I saw your underwear or anything." An image of Hallie's red panties flashed through his mind.

He tugged at the collar of his jersey. Zoe wasn't really talkative this morning...he wasn't sure whether to leave her be to sort things out, or to stay and help her open up some more. Maybe she just wasn't a morning person. Not that he could blame her. He leaned forward, elbows propped on the table. "Hey, you might have had a bad night last night," he said, "but that doesn't mean today has to be a bad day! Let's see a smile, hmm?" He pointed at his own cheeks and stretched them. "Like this? Please?"

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Character Portrait: Zoe Find Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Hallie

Zara's emotions were flitting between worry and sadness. Something she was reading definitely affected her greatly, but Hallie sighed, ignoring it. Her eyes remained on Mikhail while he tried to get Zoe to smile and cheer up. He really cared about others, for whatever reason, and his eyes sparkled so easily. Hallie distantly wished she was so easy going with people but her ability had hindered much of her social skills.

She stood and discarded her plate, debating going to shower or wander. They were supposed to research though, so she plopped back down, still watching Mikhail curiously. How anyone could care like he did was confusing.

She too turned to her phone for a distraction. What a great friendship she was building with Zara. She shrugged off the sarcasm though, turning her phone off before even opening an app.

"So...where you from? Poland right?"

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Character Portrait: Zoe Find Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Zara

Zara nodded. "Yep," she said crisply, "Near Warsaw. Parts of it are all right. Other parts are still recovering from the Cold War and all that good stuff. But altogether, it's not bad. Love it like crazy, even if some baggage comes along with it." Here, she was referring to her family. Not that she really cared for them anymore. Truth be told, when she was "lost" in the mall, the entire time she knew that if she just looked for them, she'd find them. It wasn't like with Mikhail, who lost his family involuntarily. Zara had consciously cut off all ties with that decision of inaction.

She stretched, arching her back, the scarred skin tingling faintly in reminder. It didn't hurt anymore, and she had gotten to the point where she didn't care who saw. Occasionally she even forgot it was there, which led to a few nosy people pointing it out to her when she went swimming. She always told the truth about it, thought. Just a small bit of revenge, on her part, towards her father.

She put away her phone, done with envying the long locks of the girls in the videos. She fingered her own subconsciously, willing them to grow back faster. Even Hallie's hair was kind of nice, though an odd color.

Mikhail

Mikhail pretended to pout. "A for effort, C for execution," he said, his own grin breaking his composure. He started to doubt what Hallie had said about Zoe liking him. It didn't really seem like it right now. Well, not like he was expecting her to be lovey-dovey or anything, and he definitely didn't stop by to say hi just for that reason, but right now it seemed that they were both on the same level: friends. Perhaps Hallie was just misinterpreting Zoe's feelings? Could you even do that with a power like hers? Well, there must be some margin of error, right?

He mentally shrugged it off. Whatever the case, he wasn't going to worry about it. He put a friendly hand on Zoe's shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "Well, I hope your day gets better," he said genuinely. "And that you find something fun to do. I have my own plans, but if you can't find anything to do, I'll be more than happy to help you out." He patted her shoulder a couple times and returned to the table. He plopped down onto his chair, shoveling down the rest of his breakfast before it was cold.

"So," he said, when he finished, "Ready for our research?" He couldn't help smiling at the thought. His fingers began drumming slightly in anticipation, as if they were typing on phantom keys. "I suppose the library would be the best place for info, but it might be a bit too conspicuous. Any suggestions?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arian Moira Fay Character Portrait: Mikhail Petrov Character Portrait: Hallie Green Character Portrait: James Black Character Portrait: Zara Rodsky
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Hallie

Zara gave her two cents about Poland, leaving out bits, Hallie could tell from the tendrils of emotion she was suppressing here and there, but before Hallie responded, Mikhail had returned.

"Where else could we go with an internet connection?" Hallie asked. "Unless we're doing actual search and find, as in physical files. Then we'll have to use Zara I suppose to find the right rooms. Easy to get lost here." She bitterly remembered the flowers yet again.

James

He smiled up to Arian slightly, fatique wearing him down. Eventually he squeezed her hand, unable to actually speak, and hoped she would deliver the message. Somehow he knew Mikhail could do something about it, whether it was his crystal or intuition, he didnt care much. They just needed to get out of this place.